West Nile virus (WNV) and Usutu virus (USUV) are mosquito-borne flaviviruses that have been associated with neurological diseases in humans and wild birds. Wild bird rescue centers are potential significant hot spots for avian infection surveillance, as recognized in the Italian Integrate National Surveillance Plan for Arboviruses. Here we report the results of a post-mortem active monitoring study conducted from November 2017 to October 2020 on animals hosted in five wild bird rescue centers of Central Italy. Five hundred seventy-six (n = 576) wild birds were tested by real-time polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) for the presence of WNV or USUV RNA fragments. No birds tested positive for USUV RNA (n = 0; 0.00%). Evidence of WNV RNA (Ct value = 34.36) was found in one bird (n = 1; 0.17%), an adult little grebe (Tachybaptus ruficollis subsp. ruficollis), that tested WNV positive in December 2019. This study highlights the strategic role of wildlife rescue centers in monitoring both the introduction and circulation of avian emerging zoonotic diseases. In addition, the presence of WNV during the cold season evidences the possible role of birds in overwintering mechanisms in the Italian territory and requires further investigations.

West Nile Virus and Usutu Virus: A Post-Mortem Monitoring Study in Wild Birds from Rescue Centers, Central Italy

Giuseppe Giglia
;
Elvio Lepri;Gianfilippo Agliani;Marco Gobbi;Maria Teresa Mandara
Validation
2022

Abstract

West Nile virus (WNV) and Usutu virus (USUV) are mosquito-borne flaviviruses that have been associated with neurological diseases in humans and wild birds. Wild bird rescue centers are potential significant hot spots for avian infection surveillance, as recognized in the Italian Integrate National Surveillance Plan for Arboviruses. Here we report the results of a post-mortem active monitoring study conducted from November 2017 to October 2020 on animals hosted in five wild bird rescue centers of Central Italy. Five hundred seventy-six (n = 576) wild birds were tested by real-time polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) for the presence of WNV or USUV RNA fragments. No birds tested positive for USUV RNA (n = 0; 0.00%). Evidence of WNV RNA (Ct value = 34.36) was found in one bird (n = 1; 0.17%), an adult little grebe (Tachybaptus ruficollis subsp. ruficollis), that tested WNV positive in December 2019. This study highlights the strategic role of wildlife rescue centers in monitoring both the introduction and circulation of avian emerging zoonotic diseases. In addition, the presence of WNV during the cold season evidences the possible role of birds in overwintering mechanisms in the Italian territory and requires further investigations.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11391/1534421
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